Povetkin focused on Wawrzyk, Klitschko awaits
This Friday in Moscow, undefeated Russian heavyweight Alexander Povetkin (25-0) defends his WBA title against undefeated Polish prospect Andrzej Wawrzyk (27-0). For everyone who follows the sport however, knows this fight is a stepping stone to fighting Wladimir Klitschko.
Povetkin, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist at super heavyweight, defeated Russian Rusian Chagaev for the vacant WBA 'regular' belt one month after Klitschko added their 'super' belt to his collection with a win over David Haye in July 2011.
The WBA 'regular' belt, for those unfamilar with the situation, is a sort of mandatory in wait. The 'super' champ is allowed more time than might normally be the case and the WBA collects a few extra fees. Ultimately it still ends in a fight.
Twice previously, Povetkin became a mandatory to fight Klitschko only to pull out of those fights. The second time, Povetkin's then-trainer Teddy Atlas made it clear he didn't feel his charge was ready yet. So in winning the title he began a hollow reign, making three defenses and buying critical additional time to develop. Or at least make easier money with a strap around his waist.
Wheather or not Povetkin has really improved from where he was in 2011 is debatable. There were many who felt cruiserweight titlist Marco Huck did enough to beat him last year. He will now attempt to run his defences up to four against Wawrzyk. Defeat is not an option or the hotly anticipated fight against the Ukrainian is over.
Wawrzyk's got an unbeaten record because he's never faced anyone remotely good. His best win was over Denis Bakhtov last June in a 10 round unanimous decision in a fight that was more competitive than the judges scores. Povetkin should be able to destroy him fairly easily.
Povetkin is, in this generation, the last of the realistic hurdles for Wladimir Klitschko to clear. Others may yet develop before the lineal king of the division hangs up his gloves. Kubrat Pulev or Tyson Fury are almost ready. Deontay Wilder may get there in a year or two. The only other major name Klitschko hasn't fought is also named Klitschko and that's never going to happen.
"I am putting my belt on the line, so this is a very important fight for me," said Povetkin. " I promise to give it all I have. My opponent's name is Wawrzyk not Klitschko. I am fully focused on him and want to give the fans inside the arena a great show."
"As soon as they offered me to fight Povetkin, I accepted," said Wawrzyk. "This could be the chance of a lifetime. I will try everything possible to burst the bubble that is the fight between Povetkin and Klitschko."
Also on the card, WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (25-1) takes on Guillermo Jones (38-3-2) from the Crocus Hall in Moscow live on BoxNation.